Lately, it seems there’s been an uptick in sizable funding rounds and private equity investments in the state. With 2018 being a record setting and landmark year, in that regard. But in order to get to those multimillion dollar rounds — or liquidity events — companies have to first get out of the gates. And if they’re seeking seed funding in Oregon, that doesn’t seem to be happening at a rate on par with other states. According to Crunchbase.
A lot of my focus tends to fall on companies that call Portland home. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only spot in the region with amazing startups. Beaverton, Vancouver, Bend, Eugene, Corvallis… they’re all over the state. And I need to do a better job of highlighting that. So let’s start with Beaverton startup Bigleaf, who just so happens to be holding an open house, this week.
If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you’ve no doubt heard me bemoan — or maybe even wax poetic — about the fact that it’s very rare for Portland or the region to have a a succession of exits or liquidity events. They generally happen as one offs. Or blips. But with recent activity for Cozy and Radar followed quickly by news of Mirador and Dakine, I’ll be darned if I’m not getting a wee bit optimistic about breaking that curse.
I knew it was happening, but I didn’t realize that it was coming together this quickly. So my sincere apologies for the tardy reminder. But better late than never. CyborgCamp — one of the defining events of the Portland startup community nearly a decade ago — is back. And it’s taking place November 3, 2018.
Getting on stage can be scary. Telling people about your startup can be scary. So it only stands to reason that applying to do both of those things would have a scary due date. Like tomorrow. That’s when you have to have your Pitch Oregon application done.
One of the consistent Portland themes I always mention is the concept of “accidental entrepreneurship.” By that I mean, the innumerable creative folks in town who were inspired to build something to solve a problem they had simply for the sake of solving it. And then someone or someones said, “Hey, I’d pay for that.” And suddenly, they’re a startup.
For all of the hype around tech and tech startups, we seem to be sorely lacking in events that celebrate all of the amazing consumer products that call Oregon home. That was the motivation behind last year’s Built Up Festival. And it seems to have gone pretty well. So well, in fact, that it’s happening again, September 28-October 5, 2018.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: OTRADI has built the best incubator in the city, the Oregon Bioscience Incubator. Likely the best incubator in the state. Potentially in the northwest. And incubators are hard. Really hard. (That’s part of the reason PIE chose to morph into an accelerator.) So when there comes a chance to celebrate their accomplishments? I’m all over it.
Over the years, any number of Portland startups have taken the stage for TechCrunch Disrupts. CPUsage, Glider, and Vault, among others. (And oddly enough, two of those three got acquired.) So when TechCrunch comes knocking, looking for more Oregon startups, I’m always happy to help spread the word.